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Spain warns about “delisting” and “colonialism by consent” at C24

Thursday, June 11th 2009 - 10:12 UTC
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Gibraltar’s Chief Minister Caruana did not participate in this year’s C24 Gibraltar’s Chief Minister Caruana did not participate in this year’s C24

The Spanish Government made a short but sharp intervention at the start of United Nations C24 session stating Spain's “firm wish to renew conversations with the United Kingdom within the framework of the Brussels process”.

Alberto Virella Gomez made clear that Spain opposes “any attempt to the delisting of Gibraltar from the list of territories that are undergoing the decolonisation process, for it would undermine the procedure established by the United Nations on the basis of an alleged new, modern constitutional relationship that is no more than a sort of 'colonialism by consent' and does not comply with the doctrine or the content of UN resolutions”.

The Spanish delegate made the announcement ahead of Gibraltar’s opposition leader Joe Bossano’s address. This year the Gibraltar government decided not to participate. Chief Minister Peter Caruana who cut off from the C24 last year in the wake of the new Gibraltar Constitution,

Spain rehearsed its argument that it is committed to decolonisation and values the C24's work. But the premise of its participation is that Gibraltar is the colony of one EU state and NATO ally in the territory of another, namely Spain.

Spain, said Virella, wants to make progress on negotiation of sovereignty and he repeated that Spain views that Gibraltar's status “undermines the national unity and territorial integrity of Spain”.

He also insisted that the status is governed by the 1713 Treaty of Utrecht thus making Gibraltar either British as it is or “it must become Spanish”.

Spain applauded the UN mandate and annual decisions to find a negotiated solution that takes into account the interests of the inhabitants of the Rock. He also backed the concept of a case by case approach.

Virella said the Spain congratulates itself on the success of the Forum of Dialogue and said that the process, started in 2004, is “focused on reaching a solution through co-operation to the local problems that affect the welfare of the inhabitants of Gibraltar and of its surrounding area”.

“Spain hopes that the agreements reached at these meetings within the Forum of Dialogue, along with the decisions taken in it will contribute towards the favourable conditions that will allow us to resolve the questions of sovereignty separately, within the framework of the Brussels Process”.

Spain also expressed its willingness to negotiate with UK ”within the framework of the UN, in order to pave the way for the adoption by consensus by the General Assembly, once again, of the decision of Gibraltar, based on the conviction that it is the only way to reach a definitive solution to the question of Gibraltar.

When Chief Minister Caruana appeared last year he said it was pointless to keep returning because the C24 had never acted on Gibraltar's behalf but had, instead, always chosen and continued to be silent. Gibraltar, he said, had moved on but the C24 had chosen to remain behind. Caruana told the chairman then, the same one currently in post, that Gibraltar now had exactly the relationship she wanted with the UK. It was not colonial in nature: she was no longer a colony. The committee, he affirmed, had therefore made itself irrelevant.

Categories: Politics, International.

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